By Ken Reed

An Oregon high school football player has filed a $38 million lawsuit against the local school district claiming it failed to properly handle a concussion injury he suffered during a football game.

Connor Martin was cleared to play while still experiencing concussion symptoms. In a following game, he was knocked unconscious and suffered severe symptoms, which worsened later that evening.

Martin’s mom found him at home “curled up in the fetal position on the couch, sobbing because of a severe headache,” according to the lawsuit. The suit also states that Martin would fall while attempting to walk and vomited throughout the night.

Today, Martin continues to struggle in his efforts at recovery. The lawsuit says he suffers from vision and balance problems, headaches, and light sensitivity. He hasn’t been able to return to school due to the brain injury.

As parents become more educated regarding the growing mound of brain trauma and concussion research, the number of these type of lawsuits will continue to rise. Football-related risk and liability will be hard to contain for school districts and their insurers. And, when risk and liability can’t be contained, insurance premium costs will shoot up, making the sponsoring of football cost prohibitive for middle schools and high schools.

In the coming years, as participation numbers continue to decline for middle school and high school football, and the number of brain trauma-related lawsuits starts to rise, the future of school-sponsored football programs will become bleaker and bleaker.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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